Explicit discontinuum simulation for probabilistic forecasting of fault slip and rockmass seismicity

D. Beck, V. Levkovitch, Beck Engineering,
B. Simser, Xstrata Nickel, Nickel Rim South Mine, Sudbury, Canada

With increasing depth, there will always be situations where stress, strength and structure combine to store energy in unstable ways around mining work areas.

Some mining induced seismicity is unavoidable. The job of the planning team is to balance the compromises between production demands and rock mechanics driven sequencing principles so that all essential constraints – safety, economy and recovery – are met. Achieving a sufficient and defendable balance requires quantitative tools: tools that can differentiate various courses of action, as well as assess the underlying risks for each method. It is not good enough to simply rank possible scenarios or reduce the forecast performance to a single economic value, without actually determining if the bottom line risk is below acceptable levels.

In this paper, a numerical modeling technique for simulating seismic effects of mining is described. The approach estimates the energy released throughout the mine at each stope extraction step, and has been validated for its intended purpose using data from Xstrata’s Nickel Rim South (NRS) Mine.